Question Type: Dropdown, Multiselect, and Radio Button

Dropdown, Multiselect, and Radio Button questions are types of options-based questions. The list of options can come from a Data SourceClosed Data sources, also known as "Lookups", are external sources of data that you upload or connect to TrueContext. You can reference this data in a form to populate answers or answer options. Data sources save typing, reduce errors, and make it easy to provide mobile users with only the relevant, most current data., or you can manually define the list. This topic describes how these questions work and how to set them up.

Available on all tiers:



What is an “options-based” question?

An options-based question is a question that displays a list of options as possible answers. The list can come from a Data Source, or you can manually define the list. We use the term lookup to describe a question that gets a list of options from a Data Source.

The following examples show the same list of options displayed in a Dropdown, Radio Button, and Multiselect question.

In a Dropdown question, a new view opens to display the options:

Dropdown list that shows four names with a selector next to each name.

Radio Button questions that have ten or fewer options are displayed in the main form (“inline”).

Radio Button list that shows four names with a selector next to each name. The options display in the main form, with other questions following.

Multiselect questions that have ten or fewer options are also displayed inline in the main form.

Multiselect list that shows four names with a square selector next to each name.

Radio Button and Multiselect questions that have more than ten options open in a separate view, not inline.

Data Source lookup

When you set up an options-based question, you can choose to get the options from a Data Source. We call this a “lookup”. Lookups give you the ability to push information to other questions based on the field user’s selection. The following example shows how selecting the Site Contact name pushes information from the Data Source to later questions in the form.

Radio Button list that shows "Joe Foster" selected as the Site Contact. The Job Phone # and Job Email fields are "pushed to" based on Data Source values.

Info:You can set up filters to limit the options available from the Data Source.

If your organization is on the Enterprise tier, you can also set up:

If you have the Multi-Language add-on, you can set up a lookup question to display the options in the user’s selected language. The topic Data Source Translations describes in detail how to set up translations for a Data Source.


If you choose to Define Options Manually, you can enter a list of options to display. This works for short lists of options that don’t change, and when you don’t need to push answers to later questions.

When to use a lookup question

LookupClosed Lookup questions are options-based questions that "look up" the list of options from a Data Source. These include Dropdown, Radio Button, and Multiselect questions. questions, which reference a Data Source, help field users to enter information quickly and accurately. They can also improve data integrity by ensuring that answers match the values and data types stored in your system of record.

Use a lookup question when you want to:

  • Limit the answers available to a field user.

  • Display information from a Data Source.

    Tip:You can set up a Data Source “fetch” schedule so that your field users have the most up-to-date answer options.

  • Push information from a Data Source to later questions, based on the user’s selection.

Form Builder

You have two options when adding a new question:

  • Hover between two questions, and select the plus sign [+].

    The plus icon. Selecting this option allows you to insert a question between two existing questions.

  • Scroll to the bottom of a section and select ADD A QUESTION.

    The Add a Question Button. This button appears the bottom of every section on the Form Builder.

To move a question, drag it to one of the separators between questions or to an empty section. You can also move a question to another page by dragging it to the Form Index.

A Dropdown question looks like this in the Form Builder:


The Question Edit screen for these questions has four tabs: General, Options, Properties, and Help OptionsClosed Help Options are ways to add help content, such as YouTube videos, web pages, text, or images, to questions in a form. Mobile users simply tap the help icon next to a question to see the help that the form designer provided..


Unique ID

The Unique IDClosed A Unique ID refers to the specific identifier of a question, form page, form section, or Data Destination. Unique IDs are used as reference points when pulling data for conditional logic, Analytics projects, Data Destinations, and Documents. is the reference for the question. For more information on Unique IDs, read: Overview: Unique IDs. It can either be auto-generated based on the question text, or customized.

Data Types

Data Types are the kind of information your mobile users will be putting into these questions. Setting a data type makes sure that you use the correct kind of information, in the right format. The data type can also influence whether the answer to a question can be used later in the form, or in the business process.

These questions support the following data types:

Free Text Email URL Phone Number Integer Decimal Currency
Radio Button
Note:Keep the following guidelines in mind when you select the data type:


Restrictions control how your mobile users interact with a question. They can be set on the question itself or controlled by Conditional Logic.

The following table shows which restrictions you can set for the question type. Note that:

  • indicates a restriction that you can configure.

  • * indicates a restriction that is always on.

  • ✘* indicates a restriction that is always off.

Required Read-Only Hidden on Device Hidden on Reports

Keep question width to 100%

(Side-by-Side SectionsClosed Side-by-Side Sections display questions and answers in a condensed, two-column layout. This can make it easier and faster for field users to scan, complete, and confirm the answers in a form. only)

Radio Button

Define Options Manually

If you select this option, you can define the possible answers to the question manually. This is good for short lists of options or lists that don’t change. The example below is of a Multiselect options list.

Multiselect Options page that shows the options to add the field user's name to the list of options ("Allow mobile user's username as an option), send a value to the server ("Value submitted to server"), display a different value in the form ("Text displayed on device"), and allow users to enter an answer that's not pre-defined ("Collect a text response with an "Other" option").

Unique Properties

Data Types: Default Value

When using the "Define Options Manually" option, you may set a default value.

Answer ExceptionsClosed An Answer Exception is a form feature that displays color-coded feedback when a mobile user selects or enters an answer. Answer Exceptions typically show an inspection status (pass/fail) or prompt the user for additional information. Color-coding notifies the user of the Exception's severity. and Additional Comments

If you have chosen to define your possible answers in the Options tab (as shown in the screenshot above) rather than using a Data Source, you will have the option to use Answer Exceptions and Additional Comments for Dropdown and Radio Button type questions.

Answer Exceptions

Answer Exceptions are used to categorize problems identified during the course of a field technician's work as the user completes a form. For example, if configured on an Inspection form, if a user selects a particular piece of equipment from a Radio Button list, TrueContext could show a warning containing information on what kind of protective equipment might be needed

For more information on setting up Answer Exceptions, please read: Answer Exceptions

Additional Comments

Additional Comments are useful for when certain answers from a user require further information, like a comment or reason. Using the same example as above, if a user selects a particular piece of equipment from a Radio Button list, TrueContext could request details on what Personal Protective Equipment the mobile user requires.

For more information on configuring Additional Comments on questions, please read: Additional Comments on Questions

Use Data Source for Options

Link your question to a Data Source to populate your list of options. This is useful when a form contains long lists of options such as:

  • Parts lists
  • Customer lists
  • Lists that change frequently and can be automatically synced from your cloud or back-office system
  • Lists that are shared across multiple forms

For more information on Data Sources, please read: Data Sources Overview.

To illustrate the use of Data Sources, we'll use a simple parts list in Excel.

Excel worksheet that shows "Part ID" in the first row of column A, "Part Name" in the first row of column B, and "Price" in the first row of column C. These are the column "headers" that you select as display and answer values.

In the Form Builder, you set up the column to use as the answer and the column to display on the device.

Data Source section in the Form Builder that shows "Part ID" as the "Column value submitted to server" and "Part Name" as the "Column value displayed on device". The "submitted to server" is the actual value, and the "displayed on the device" values are the answers that the user selects from.

  • Column value submitted to server: This is the information that the system saves as the answer and sends to your Data Destinations and Documents. The value doesn’t have to match the Column value displayed on device. In this example, we display the Part Name for the user to select and send the Part ID to the back-office system. This improves the accuracy of answer selection and supports inventory tracking in the back-office system.

  • Column value displayed on device: This is the information that will be shown on your field users’ devices. In this example, field users select a Part Name, which makes it easier for them to choose the correct answer.

  • Hide duplicate rows in dropdown: If your Data Source contains duplicate display column entries (Column value displayed on device), selecting this option hides the duplicates.

    Note:If you want to use a Multi-Column View to display the list of options, we recommend that you do not hide duplicate rows. There might be duplicate values in one column, but different values in other columns.

Advanced Data Source Features

Common Properties

Properties allow you to set up your question in various ways. Question Properties are affected by two things:

  • the data type chosen
  • the use of Defined Here options, or Data Source Options

The common properties are based on the data type, as shown below:

Free Text Email/URL/Phone Number Integer/Decimal/Currency
  • Validation Type: Validation checks that your users have entered information correctly. 
  • Keyboard Type: Lets you define what keyboard your mobile users encounter.
  • Allow mobile users to launch Email, Browser, SMS, or Phone call to this entry
  • Allowable Range (Min/Max)
  • Decimal Place Precision (Decimal Data Type)
  • Currency

Note:Don’t use validation with options-based questions that reference a Data Source. If there’s a validation error because there’s an error in the Data Source, mobile users can’t continue their work in the form.

Help Options

Adding "Help" content to forms gives mobile users access to support and other resources out in the field. Help content is available to users through a button embedded beside a question. Any question in the form can include a link to YouTube videos, web pages, or work instructions.

For more information on Help Content, please read: Add Help Options to Questions